Graduate Women Scotland

Pursuing worldwide the rights of women and girls through education


Our Founders

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Irish Federation AGM Dublin 2015 Anne Reynolds, Marion Gibson, Danielle Castle, Fiona Sutherland.

In 1918 Professor Dean Virginia Gildersleeve (USA), Professor Caroline Spurgeon and Rose Sidgwick (both UK) conceived the idea of a worldwide organisation uniting University Women.

The following year the International Federation of University Women (IFUW) founded when University Women from Great Britain (Federation started in 1907), Canada (Federation started in 1919) and the United States (Federation started in 1881) met in London.

Some Local Associations already existed in Scotland as early as 1901.

In 1920 the first International Conference held in London.


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GWS outing to Hopetoun House.

To foster international helpfulness, mutual understanding and friendship

A Fellowship was established in memory of Rose Sidgwick (who died in the 'flu pandemic, 1918).

Fellowships and Bursaries still a large part of the work of IFUW promoting women's education and status in the world.

Projects and fact finding still an important part of the work of IFUW.


Constitution was drawn up.

Annual fees to be paid.

One Federation or Association comprising several Local Associations per country allowed.


Having a degree or professional qualification.


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Scottish Parliament, 2016 Catriona Sutherland, Nicola Sturgeon, Anne Williams.

International Federation Conferences were held every 2 years until the thirties.

In 1932 the IFUW conference was held in Edinburgh with 30 countries participating. The second World War caused some countries to officially disband their national federations but many continued underground, and so re-emerged fully functioning after the war.

In 1936 Madame Hegg Hoffet (Swiss Association) assisted refugees to integrate by giving help with course fees and living expenses. This still continues today.

United Nations Connection

1947 IFUW sends observers to all the components of the United Nations and later is given consultative status to present resolutions and still occurs today.

IFUW never interferes in any country.

Focus Change Through the Decades

1920's female access to employment was main target.

1950's women employed in science and economics was key aim.

1960's teaching of science and engineering to both women and men was targeted.

Today, women balance career and home life bringing different challenges.

Alliance Groups

1980 University Women of Europe (UWE) formed so that they could have representation on the Council of Europe.

1985 the University Women of Asia founded.

1991 the University Women of Africa (FUWA) formed.


Research Presentation Day 2015

Federations can only be formed when a country has its own government so in 1999, as the Scottish Parliament was established, Scottish members of the British Federation formed their own Federation. In 2007 at the IFUW conference held in Manchester, England, the SFUW was affiliated to the IFUW organisation.

In March 2015, Federations of IFUW voted to change its name to Graduate Women International (GWI).

In May 2015, SFUW voted to become Graduate Women Scotland (GWS).

GWS has three Local Associations; Glasgow, Inverclyde and East (Dundee), and some National members. Regular meetings and gatherings on a variety of topics occur.

A Research Presentations Day is hosted by a different Local Association each year. Postgraduate students tell us about their research in a non-confrontational and encouraging atmosphere.

Many friendships and alliances are formed through GWS and its links with GWI which last a lifetime. So come and be part of the next hundred years in our history!

Dr. Fiona I Sutherland